tv Origins of the Cold War in Central Europe CSPAN December 25, 2016 4:35pm-5:56pm EST
>> next week visit the national world war ii museum in new orleans. for a program from a conference titled 9046 year zero. in his a session, historians house and are richey and comic print discuss the origins of the cold war. it is a ritchie was at joseph stalin and the reasons behind soviet expansion. while professor crane examines the western response to a reader had been an ally during the war. >> welcome to the 925 session entitled the iron curtain. the bent and western response. up until now, we had been for grounding detailed behavior of berries individuals and groups. and itneed to do i think is a good time to do this at our conference now is to talk about the deep background, the big issues that were at stake. the context in which actors and decision-makers are carrying out their activities.
we have to extremely dignified speakers and colleagues of mine on the podium today. they smiled but they know they are. housing to ritchie first on my immediate right is a professor at the in warsaw poland. my has written widely on should all of the world. her two books are absolutely fantastic. the two that i have read. spouse metropolis, a history of berlin. i can't recommend that highly enough. and warsaw, 1944. hibbler, himmler and the warsaw uprising. alex is a member of the presidential council advisory board to spend to good advice to the using them for a while. we are truly lucky to have her. alex's right. conrad. he spent 26 years in active military service.
ofn including nine years hard duty as a professor of history at united states military academy. i say that with a smile having visited as a professor when you're. faculty at united states military academy puts themselves on a list to open the building at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. which is something that he tried in a academic institution, it was started by. chief ofrently the historical services for the u.s. army heritage and education server and carlisle companies living in. he tried to publish two books in 2060. and cassandra in oz, a great title. counterinsurgency and great -- future work. i have asked him not to publish a were both in 2016. with that, alexander ritchie will first speak on the soviet subjugation of eastern europe. and then drawing a line in the sand for democracy.
>> numbers of the company different. >> we have scrapped the structure. that may give you some background. so far, alex and i have been working on this for about a year, this presentation. so far, in this conference, there has been a lot of condemnation about compromises made as a result of the cold war. our aim is to describe how it all started. we want to provide you with a change of pace. but we're going to do is structure your program and emphasize the attitudes that created the cold war. seatally, fasten your goes, you're about to hit information overload. >> i'm supposed to be representing selling here. best with this
uniform. this is the sort of thing that he likes to wear. i was a we're done a good job. about a storyught that mr. molotov recounted in his memoirs when he was sitting with stella with about eight other people. somebody bumped into one of the waiters serving stalin. the room froze. absolutely froze. everybody in the room was petrified of stalin. they were so frightened. because of know if this incident, one of them might end up being shot in the back of the head this morning. dealing with stalin was like mishandling a detonator. you only do it once in your life. there was no chance to correct it. we are looking at the beginning of the cold war and how it affected central europe and how it had implications for the rest
of the world. order to understand what happened in central europe at the end of world war i, one has to know a little about stalin and heavy solid. we'll note that he had been very important in the bolshevik revolution. he started up by being a bank robber. he went around working for letting getting money for the early bolshevik. he was a very quickly in linen's eyes. when lenin died in 1924, he took over. just before lennon die, he said that he did not want stalin to succeed. he was too cruel. that coming from london was quite something. stella did take over. people. anybody who he thought might buy for power. to create the soviet union into an industrialized powerhouse which meant forced industrialization and forced collectivization about 5 million
people were killed in a very brutal way. but he did manage to drag the soviet union into a industrial age. the great terror, eight millions as well. between 1937 and i did 38. 82,000 people were executed. stalin is to look to go to the ballet. love swan lake. he left goingake, to the opera. after the opera was over he would go to his office and he was signed at once. we have documents where he says i want more people from this region or whatever it was. and 38.37 one thousand 500 people were being executed in russia every day. stalin, the end always justify the means. but what did he really want, this is important for when we look at what he does at the end of the war. he did turn into a very effective wartime leader. he was adored by many russians and by the end of the war he was a very powerful leader in the
world. he felt very strong. the key to understanding what he did in central europe is to understand that he was a murderer. he was paranoid, he was also some things but above all, he was a marxist and let us which means he believed in the forces of history. even he as an individual leader was not that important. happened.matter what the capitalist system was going to collapse. there arose go to fight one another. in the end, communism would triumph. recently released documents show that stalin believed that there would be a third world war. not between the soviet union and the west but between great britain and the united states. he also believed that if they were given the choice right after the war that the people would actually choose communism.
something that seems very strange to us now. he actually really believes it. we understand these believes. they were deeply held by this man. it goes away to explain the contradictory behavior in central europe throughout the world. contradicting but i am jumping ahead a little bit. sending the red army through to germany. an estimated 2 million women were raped. the soviets took reparations and so on. the local populations where hitting this. on the other hand, stalin expected them to both the communists into power. so how did the cold war started unfold in central europe? it was clear from the very beginning that stalin meant to get what he could out of this world. this will not just a military war. it was a political one, an ideological one, and the, one. it was about the territory. the conferences for example always used the argument of defense.
wanted to create a buffer zone defending russia from future attacks. he said that the polish have always been the jumping off point for napoleon or hiller. you need to get this country. there is an element of truth to this. it did feel vulnerable. it did need to protect itself. it was also clear that he was after a land grab and wanted to get what he could. for example, on the 10th of november, 1941, 1941, when the germans were still at the gates of moscow effectively, anthony eden as her frank roberts and a small british delegation go to see him in moscow. i talked to sir frank roberts before he died about this meeting and he said it was uncanny that stalin, only a couple of months into his war was artie saying in this meeting that he wanted all of the baltic states and he wanted a big chunk of poland. he clearly intended to use the war to expand his territory.
they were very many hands are howy during the war about and what stalin thought of the west and how he would behave toward the west at the end of the war. one of the places where it was most clear was in poland. howpoland was a huge source of conflict for the allies during the war. as we know, the second world war had started. his or'scause of invasion of poland on september 1939. but he was also started on the 17th of september when stalin invaded poland. stalin was a extremely puerile off of -- occupier of poland. the polish deeply resented the not to occupation. it was brutal. the soviet occupation also someone hundred 30,000 or so people be deported to the gulags
, about 30 does before eric -- executed with bows to the back of the neck. including the 14 or so thousand polish officers who were murdered. there were still evidence of the crime that popped up. the great was found in the woods with about 600 bodies. there are discovered to have a the backstols shot to of the neck. when the murder was discovered in 1943 by the germans, far from apologizing for it, stalin blamed the germans. he used it as an excuse to break off relations with the polish government in exile for london. incidentally, demonstrating once again that stalin was not adverse to line. do withi had nothing to these monstrous crimes. of course, i've seen the 's bignts with stalin checkmark on it.
by 1944, the war had turned very much in stalin's favor and when the red army we had to post territory, the polish home army decided to help the red army to fight against the nazis. soviets take the cities. the front-line soldiers got along extremely well. there was a lot of drinking about the and then they arrived. the soviets started to arrest the polish home army people. there were other hints as well 's behavior. an american example was the treatment of the bases and poor topic. there are three american airbases. there were about 1300 men there. the americans have been treated very well. as the war progressed and we got
into june, july, august of 1944. all of a sudden, arrested by the soviets became very intense. william richey started to complain about soviet behavior. particularly after the germans attacked the base, destroying a number of planes. he complained of the fact that the soviets had not allow the americans to protect their own air base. the only thing that the service provider was a few shingles on the back of trucks. that did nothing to delay that attack. of course, infamously on the first of august, he refused to come to the aid of the poster anywhere. but we are still for the western allies and they did not allow the bridge or the americans to refuel planes behind and its enemy lines. political ambitions of seller becoming very clear lobby for may, 1945. during the war, stalin had nurtured communism. as he got these territories he
parachuted them in to these respective countries to start communist governments that. i will keep it with poland. in poland, he said at the pk wnd was a polish puppet communist regime. he met some sort of noises to the allies that some of the government people in the polish government could join this regime. person he invited 16 of these people to have talks with the idea of joining the government. on the 20th of march, 16 of them flew to warsaw to have talks about the new government. stalin got them on a plane, they went to moscow. they were arrested, imprisoned and tortured. they were put through show trials. the top ofing about the home army.
this was the commander-in-chief of the home army. he died in soviet prison. they all died in prison. these massive waves of arrest happened after the red army betweenrough poland july 1944 and august 2 45. about 100,000 at home army people and others are the soviets thought might be against their regime were arrested. including people like stem stop arrested.e it was he was in the raf. he had gone back to poland. you was educated. i also include people at my father-in-law who had crimes like in auschwitz when he was council, he started the for a two jews. then he fought and he was for the uprising. he was given seven years in stalin's present. there were many others like him.
the weste hence to that's almost not going to be the nice guy that he was depicted in western propaganda. the timesou put up five? slide >> 1939 will be remembered as a time when men were forced to turn a most exclusively to politics. joseph stalin switch the power balance of your. man ofjoseph stalin a 9030 nine. history may not like him but history cannot forget him. stalin's life reveals numerous cynical of cinema -- opportunism. ellen pao's photograph became the icon of the new state whose religion is communism. you can see that 1949 image of stalin. it looks like a character from a bad game of thrones episode. the west knows what he is like.
image, stalin also was in 1942. in his office within the dark joseph stone -- worked at his desk, 16 or 18 hours a day before a huge globe showing the course of campaigns over territories. he himself had defended heroically in the civil was a 1917 in 1920. this time, he can defend it and mostly by willpower. there were new streaks of gray in his hair and new edges of the teeth on his days. but there was no break in his home on russia. long was none -- no recognition of his account was meant outside of soviet borders. you have the dilemma of how do what war two.
now all of a sudden, this country is now your ally, how do deal with it? the decision was we are going to base this on shared values and not an is my enemy. there is a massive information campaign to turn joseph stalin into ronald reagan. , howhat you end up with is he people into the movie shrek? the walt disney movie shrek which involves the princess who becomes an ogre and the bottom line is like a villain in a bad shrek movie, harry truman's problem for the rest of his term as president of the united states was how to turn a prince back into it over. between 9039 and 1942, we turned the over into a prince. turning that information around is going to be one of the great things that sparks the cold war. there were many that understood the stalin was not the kind soul here and then depicted as in time magazine.
the chief ofok, the imperial staff wrote in his memoirs that stalin has got an unpleasantly cold, crafty face. whenever i look at him he i can imagine him setting people up to their doom without even turning a hair. when halliburton deals with stalin, fdr and roosevelt, he writes this in his memoirs. during this meeting and all of the subsequent ones, are rapidly grew to appreciate that he had a military brain at the highest caliber. not at any time did he make any strategic error or appreciate all of the situation. in this respect, he stood out when compared to his two colleagues. roosevelt never made any great pretense of being a great strategist. churchill was far more erratic.
we were reaching a very dangerous point where stalin's shrewdness, assisted by an american shortsightedness might lead us anyway. that is 1943. part of churchill's flighty disc, churchill, 1944, churchill flies to moscow. picked out atalin piece of paper, scribbled on it and showed how they should divide the world. romania will be 90 percent russian influence and 10% the west. greece is 90% british influence, 10% russian. yugoslavia, 50-50, a very 50-50, bulgaria, 25 russian, 25% less. stalin was generally going to go by that piece of paper. stalin does not support the greek civil war. he stays away. he violated in the most essential europe. that is because the americans, the british arranged a separate surrender of italy.
stalin says if you has a going back to italy because you conquered italy, i will do the same thing in central europe with the countries they overrun there. so he did his own surrenders and arrangements in central europe just like we did in italy. i mention some of the things at the conference provides. the redness first made that germany would be split into four separate zones. the nasty war criminals will be hunted down, reparations, the soviet union would have any reparations. germany might be do that -- divided into six nations, that would be figured out later. big thing he the wanted, stalin committed to join the united nations and agree to enter the fight against japan after the surrender of germany. at the's them conference in july of august of 1945. they all made agreements to shift germany's eastern border.
about thes let's talk impact of those mass expulsions on your. industrial capacity of the western zones where unnecessary for the german peace economy and will be transferred to the soviet union within two years. massive reparation. industrial capacity of the westernit ended recognite polish government exiled. in many ways, poland is so down the river of boston. what does a young upstart captain do? to ask any allowed questions beyond 1945. i figured a way around that. i went up to general bradley and i said when did you realize we were about to enter a cold war with the soviet union? two setback in his wheelchair with his wife next to them and his much abused eight on the
other side and he said you know, i knew we were in trouble when my counterpart in the soviet army wanted to trade his meal for my jeep. >> speaking at the conference is, it went than quite a shock to churchill and roosevelt who both competed with one another they realizes and how much he actually despised and hated them both. despite all of the local just we see not just from the soviet archives but also the visitors like yugoslav, polish and other visitors to stalin. we have a document was still talking about the wartime leaders. some of it is vile. he is absolutely -- he has no respect for them. you raise about both of them, calling them we, pathetic. they are nothing more than compact -- capitalist bandits. he said of roosevelt and he only
believes in dollars, nothing else. his hatred of the west was mentioned that the americans and the british were trying to strangle the bolsheviks malia first. there was a point in 1990 when the troops held part of the trans-siberian railway. he wanted to win these. he prepared for the very carefully which is also fascinating. for example, when he was going to meet roosevelt in iran, he practiced in from the mirror. he was an actor, he was very worried about how he looks. he wanted to make sure his boots were polished. he kept checking his appearance. he also decided that he was not going to allow -- laugh at any roosevelt's jokes. someone put fdr off. he was quite a jovial person. he also carefully manipulated the conversation and the kind of
my army is bigger than your army kind of thing. for example, he quite deliberately gave a talk about how the fighting was going on the eastern front. he very clearly says he has 330 divisions against the enemies. saidrned to churchill and how many divisions are going to be involved in overlord? churchill said 16 british divisions, 19 u.s. divisions. stalin said i have 330 on the eastern front. and he would spend many hours of the day reading through the transcripts of private conversations. he told a group of visiting yugoslav communists visiting in 1944, don't people by my cordial relationship with churchill or
roosevelt, they are just capitalist pickpockets. he told another group of in a visitors, our alliance with the capitalist came about only you and because they also had a stake in preventing hendler' nation but in the future we will be against this first faction of capitalists, too. in short, his ideology had not change much from the 1930's. stalin did not understand the west at all. peaceably did not understand things like the atlantic charter. and youyou will you you are you and that the west went to war to try you and you will to bring are in democratic values and the united nations, a different and he and vision of the post
you world war. he did not believe it at all. he had a totally different vision of the post-war world. yeltsin gives an do this. for security and clinical know your will and a ideological and, he felt he needed to acquire space and he needed to maintain absolute control and no country, especially not germany, you whatever ever be able to the and you kind of turnaround in the future. so he began with his inroads into central europe. will a you a each country followed a similar but not identical pattern because stalin was trying to keep up and appearances of coalition governments and so on. you he did not want to provoke and the west into reacting. but as i mentioned earlier, he had hand-picked communist leaders who had worked in moscow during the war.
those who survived were dropped into their respective countries. as a in poland, i mentioned the government was set up in 1944. a government was set up in 1944. you a a referendum about whether or not the polish border should be changed and what people thought about land reform and so on. the communists got very good results in the 1980's but after the archives were opened, it was discovered this was a complete lie in that 72% of the vote had gone against the referendum. so another words, stalin quite quickly started to realize he was not going to get the popular vote after also he did not make this mistake in the actual polish election of 1947. as that of allowing free elections he arrested members of the opposition. quickly started to realize he was not going to get the popular he used the security apparatus to intimidate people at the polls, and of course the polish communists won.
people who had brought in from the government were taken away in the boot of the american ambassador process car because he was in such fear for his life. the people's party took control. stolen statues popped up everywhere. artists, writers were arrested on trumped up charges. post-1980 nine figures show that as many as 180,000 people were executed after 1945. a similar pattern in romania. a left-wing coalition was elected but of course communists held all of the key ministerial posts and other parties were quickly eliminated, for example the national peasants party was eliminated because they don't have talks with some american representatives. show trials were held. rigged election elections were held in 1946 and the communists won 70% of the vote.
the terror evidence emerged that soviet labor camps and other terrible places and prisons which specialized in physical and psychological torture into the secret police developed and they were only really part of the fall of -- in 1939. stalin decided to go more slowly in hungary. he brought in someone who is one of the central figures in moscow. again, he told them they could go more slowly and hungary. he said they didn't want to alarm the western allies because
he was already getting -- because what he was doing and poland. the party one 57% of the vote and the communists only 17%. the cozy was put in power anyway and resorted to what he called salami tactics which was slowly slicing off the opposition and getting rid of them slowly but surely so at the end the communist dominated. secret police was put into place to arrest anybody who looked as if they might challenge the status quo.
the same thing happened in albania. yugoslavia was different. one other thing stalin did, particularly in the run-up to pottsdam, was to push these government's german minority out as quickly and brutally as possible. people had just a few hours to pack up and go and the reason this is important was because all of these people were added to the destitute masses of germany and other countries and europe. for example on his way to pottsdam, truman was supposed to meet with solomon stalin was late so truman decided to visit elsewhere and he said it was dirty, smelly, old man, old women, young women pulling carts.
he called it a world tragedy. stalin did not care about these people but truman and marshall and other people started to care very much. conrad: there were signs as soon as the war ended that the soviets would be a problem. at the dilemma for harry truman was how to get the american public to recognize that. as soon as the war ended, soviets put a lot of pressure on iran and turkey. in iran they wanted oil, and turkey day wanted access to be able to get to the black sea and the mediterranean. a lot of pressure on those averments. one of the great diplomatic messages, what happens is the u.s. sends a sharp protest they want to do something else. the turkish ambassador to the united states died said the united states offered we would send the body of the ambassador back to turkey and the casket shows up on the deck of the battleship missouri. very subtle diplomatic message there. and, again, we have the bomb, they do not. the soviets withdraw the
pressure on iran and turkey. in february 1946 the messages sent to do an evaluation of soviet behavior and he sends a very famous document, what is called the long telegram. and a thousand word telegram. -- an 8000 word telegram. in summary, we have a political force believing with the u.s., there could be no further modus operandi that the internal society be disrupted. traditional life destroyed. if soviet power is to be secure, the political force has complete power of disposition of her
reaction. he closes with a number of recommendations. he says, you have to contain expansionist tendency and he's as much develops and depends on as much develops and depends on supporting free peoples resisting attempt by armed minorities are outside pressure. a bold statement. again, the public is not quite ready to get behind this. it is going to require the
creation of a red scare. restore the image of the ogre. the soviet bugaboo. you talk about joseph mccarthy and the espionage seminar. one of the reasons we play up all these russian spy trials is to prove to the american people about the soviet threat. joseph mccollum -- joseph mccarthy is the creation of harry truman. the result of the red scare
created to get the american public to support the truman doctrine and in june 1947, the marshall plan. remember about this diseased tissue? -- we basically commit ourselves to a massive aid to france and italy to try to save their governments from collapse. i remember i gave a -- i was involved in -- in developing the army land to reconstruct iraq in 2002-2003, the one that was fully endorsed by secretary rumsfeld and other people. i gave a briefing on history of occupation to general garner and his staff who were going over to iraq. with the organization for reconstruction and humanitarian
affairs interact. the first group to try to reconstruct it. i mentioned the fact that the marshall plan was 4% of our gnp for four years and i can see all of general garner's staff had to sit back with their eyes rolled back in their heads because they are basically getting nothing. the degree of commitment in 1947 was in europe. then i will kind of force out some things alexander will talk more about. there are also plans to rebuild europe. restored germany. the plans begin to reunify the french-british, and areas. the first thing you do is try to
unify currency. in june 1948 the decision is made to extend the reform to berlin. alex: it is definitely true that before the marshall plan, stalin thought the asn misery needed to collapse, from which the soviets would benefit. he put puppet governments in place across eastern and central europe and he also sent communists to italy and france. as for the churchill speech, stalin called it the declaration of war, the missouri speech. when the truman doctrine was published, stalin immediately accuse the united states of aiding fascist" fascist in greece and fascist in turkey." but the marshall plan, when it was first announced, stalin did not know how to react. the speech at harvard was slightly ambiguous. it did not outline policy quite yet. so stalin to molotov was cautiously optimistic, underlining the sentence, our policy is not against any country or doctrine but against poverty, hunger, and chaos. he thought at that point may be the soviets could turn this into
their advantage and for habs even get some reconstruction credits from the soviet union desperately needed. so of course britain and the french foreign secretaries meet in paris on the 27th of june 1946 to discuss this and then invite the soviet union to come. stalin sent a delegation of people under molotov and the specific instructions were to find out how much the united states was prepared to give and find out if the americans were going to plan any interference as stalin put it, in the internal affairs of the recipients. by the second day of the conference, molotov had heard enough and walked out. he accused the americans of wanting to split europe into two parts.
stalin firmly believed that the west wanted to use the plan to reintegrate his newly-one central european states into the capitalist economic system of the west with all of the political ramifications that implied. for the west, the marshall plan was seen as a defensive plan to stave off economic ruin and western europe and for stalin and became nothing less than a blatant attempt to divert soviet interest in the region. the soviet ambassador called it an attempt to roll back soviet influence in europe and should be regarded as the first stage of a coordinated plan to create and anti-seven alliance and europe. this attitude would have profound repercussions for countries who wanted to join the land. poland was one and czechoslovakia was another. you i have not mentioned czechoslovakia yet because it was an unusual case.
the one government stalin had allowed to return in total from soviet in london back to prague. the communists popularity in czechoslovakia was writing -- ing high. they never quite for gave the west for allowing hitler's to take czechoslovakia. for the three elections, the communists got 38% of the vote and build eight polish and government. czechoslovakia wanted to join the marshall plan badly.
they sent word to the united states that they were interested but this was absolutely too much for stalin. he ordered them to fly to moscow, where they got an extreme dressing down. if you go to paris, stalin said, it will shows you want to cooperate in action aimed at isolating the soviet union. it will be a break the end success for the western powers. so the czechoslovakian's had no choice but to return home. one said he had gone is an independent foreign minister for czechoslovakia and returned home as a mere lackey of the soviet
union. he was convinced the united states wanted to create a hostile environment -- stalin was -- and he did not take part in talks anymore because he thought it might lead the soviet union open to american exploitation and he decided to switch track and consolidate his power and eastern central europe instead and he began with the creation of a new coordinating center for the european communist party called the communist forum. this was done to resist the marshall plan and consolidate soviet control in his fear of influence. so on september 20 2, 90 47, representatives of nine communist countries met in poland to create this
organization. the secretary of the central committee declared that thanks to the united states, europe has been to the -- divided. since the pottsda conference, the americans have shownm there in ability. the imperialist used the marshall plan to him or western european alliance dominating right washington which will serve as a jumping off point for attacking the soviet union. the marshall plan proves the western powers are aggressive and hostile to the ussr and allies, hence negotiations with the united states are futile. this was the beginning of the cold war proper. a massive political clamp in eastern europe. gone were the nice coalition governments and attempts at reelections.
stamped out. a foreign minister mysteriously fell out of his window, we now have evidence he was murdered -- the allies had to decide what they were going to do with germany. given stalin's behavior, they now started to turn away any thought of compromise that stalin thought was going out the window at this point in time. they decided to create -- the london conference held between the british, french, and americans to discuss the future of germany and the soviet union was excluded from the conference. in january 1948, stalin banned all western literature from being passed around in the soviet zone.
an april, 19 48, already stalin tried his first attempt at -- he did not bar but he tried to harass people moving in and out of the western zone. people had to go through soviet territory to get to part of the western territory. the west decided to create a new currency which the next day leads to stalin blog -- stalin'a complete block. conrad: on another case of stalin were acting truman responded to the blockade without consulting anybody. he spent orders. he was lucky the commander of the u.s. was one of my favorite people of all time, general curtis lemay. remember last time we talked about curtis lemay he was
dropping firebombs on japanese children. today he is dropping chocolate candy on german children. lemay turns into a machine to get a lot of airmen from out in europe. they are flying supplies into berlin, airlift. 2000 fights -- flights and eventually they exceed the supply level by air going by rail to berlin. it was, you know, the operation has gone down in history. by the airmen, it was called the lemay: in feed company. typical of his workaround tendencies, it was a typical example of gathering resources, coordinate agencies and working around the sovereignty and rules of belgium and france.
that is just the way he operated. it was a massive success will stop some other things happened, too. in the middle of the airflow, truman -- airlift, truman deployed atomic bombs. the first deployment outside the united states of american atomic at tax. this helps inspire in april 1949 the creation of the north american treaty organization. canada, iceland, norway, portugal, france, the netherlands. everybody understands the core of nato has got to be a re-armed germany. if you're going to re-armed germany, there are some hard choices to make. they are going to be the core of
the anti-communist coalition in europe. you have got to have a strong germany. commitment from the germans. getting the war prisoners out of jail. remember, pieper becomes a poor salesman. but they do make deals to get the germans on board to rearm against the soviet threat. you have also, i mean, it is not just in germany make deals. you know, who is going to be most afraid of a rearmed germany? obviously, france. how to get france on board? we have to agree to give them massive support and indochina. so the reason we get involved in
vietnam is because we want germany to be rearmed to fight against the soviets. so there are worldwide rebels of this shift now from -- you know, now everybody recognizes who the ogre is. everybody recognizes that is the major threat. so we end up, you know, we are going to make the best of a series of bad choices of what it will take to deal with that threat. initially in europe, it eventually in asia. that concludes our formal remarks. hopefully you are not to overwhelm. everybody is still a way, that is good. we will now open up for questions from the audience about this tumultuous time. >> we will do the first question in the center. >> i would enjoy discussing these things with you for the rest of the day but i will have to limit myself to one question with kind of related parts. we have heard a lot of things in this conference and one of the things was this idea of retooling public opinion from joe stolen, known as papa joe, uncle joe, to the enemy. why is munich associated in our mind with appeasement?
and how long did it take the u.s. press to convince the country that germans were no longer the enemy? alex: and terms of the appeasement question, the situation was quite different. and, i mean, this right all of the problems we know of, the situation that was facing czechoslovakia when faced with the attacks by himmler was on a different scale. the trouble was we had this sort of positive feeling about uncle joe. the soviet union was doing the heavy lifting when it came to winning the war. the trouble was the western allies and britain in particular
did not have any other options to churchill's deal with the devil. they had to take stalin on board otherwise they would not be able to defeat the worst of the enemies which was hitler's. the red army had already swept through half of these territories. the soviets had horrific losses and it was not the time to say sort of we are not going to do any deals anymore, let's change course. that was not possible at that point. about germany not being the enemy, that does change surprisingly rapidly because of the cold war. all of a sudden you have the main enemy not hitler's. stalin and the cold war becomes the focus of everybody's attention by 1949, 1950, it is clear the germans have to be on our side to have a stable
europe. you have to involve germany and some way or another. the public opinion switches along with germany's new role in this scheme of things. conrad: there is an element of appeasement. that argument does persist for decades in some schools. it is interesting, part of the reason there's a shift is because we do such a good job of emasculating their military. we do a good job advertising that. it is about a 10-year process to add germany back into the fault. the germans do a great pr job, a kinder, gentler germany, that sort of thing. it is interesting we almost do too good of a job. i had a conversation with a
young captain who served in the northern part of afghanistan. they were not overly capable. he said, you know there's german guys are so incompetent. why can't i get some of those ss guys they talked about? i had a long talk with him about some of the baggage. we would have been more successful with the militarizing them than we thought we would ever be. >> we have a question this way. question: what extent do you feel this is all inevitable given the fact that communism in particularly joe stalin had a
single-minded purpose that existed from the beginning long before world war ii. to what extent was there even any choice even the forces we were working with? alex: am one of those people that believes the cold war was inevitable simply because of the things he believed in in juneau, as i said, during the war it was expedient to be an hour i have stalin into the red army but once the postwar order was being set up it was obvious that stalin stood for totally different things and there was no room for compromise in his worldview. he stood for things we could not find acceptable. nobody was going to go to war to get back poland or a czechoslovakia or hungry, as we saw a later on in the 50's and someone but there was a sense of revulsion that stalin was doing
the things he was doing and central europe and i really do believe if you look at stalin's way he believed in the beginning, his outlook was that communism was going to come to dominate the world and this is a system that would dominate sooner or later even though stalin did not think it would happen in his lifetime. hitler's without he had to conquer in his lifetime because he thought he was the only person capable. stalin believed in forces even if he was not they won a place this would inevitably be the system we would live under it eventually. so with that worldview, i do not inc. it would have been possible to compromise. question: i understand harry truman and franklin roosevelt
did not talk much during the last years of roosevelt's life and my question is, how do you assess the leadership truman provided in the postwar era assuming he was confronted with somebody difficult issues? conrad: one of the best ways to look at fdr versus truman was wrinkly delano roosevelt -- was that for franklin delano roosevelt, the existential
threat he faced, he was willing to cut a certain amount of deals with the soviet union because they are not on the top of his priority list. harry truman comes in, he does not know about the atomic bomb, he has to be informed about that. he was not a big player in roseville press decision making. he was doing a lot of traveling. -- roosevelt's decision making. he was doing a lot of traveling. for harry truman, who comes in as the, you know, a month before the germans surrender and for him, even though it he carries out the pottsdam agreements to get the germans out of the war, for him it is going to be different. you know, here's hard-nosed. you have to understand his background and how he looks at life. he does, i mean, and you will, you know, you know, you will see what he does in korea and other places he is -- he is willing to confront -- he is not afraid of the soviets. it helps if we have the bomb and
they don't. you know, it really helps if we have the bomb and he does not. we are looking at defense policies as of the bomb and some are maybe realistic but to understand truman you have to understand his perspective is different than fdr's. alex: a brief comment, i have always been amazed by how quickly truman picks up and runs with all of these in enormous tasks he is all of a sudden facing. i was baffled that he was given so little information before he took office. i mean, fdr was sick. he was really kept in the dark in terms of foreign-policy issue so i have always been amazed by how quickly he stepped up to the plate.
question: one of the earlier questions, how long did it take the american media to shift from this embrace of the soviets to a more lucid understanding about how evil he was and how aggressive. i can recall that when it appeared that greece and turkey were going to go communist, the then-chairman of the foreign senate relations committee was a republican. and when there was some consternation about truman's overtures to get help to prevent this, to prevent the turkey and greece from going communist, that vandenberg made the statement "we're trying to avoid partisanship." he said "partisanship should end at the water's edge meaning there should be bipartisan support for the initiative.
i think it was successful. so my question is how long did it take for that to be dissipated? because i can tell you that 25, 30 years later, there was tremendous partisanship in opposition to some grave efforts to strengthen the free world coalition against the soviets. conrad: one of the, when you try to study the development, one of the basic things is the persistence of containment. you really have 47 as a key year. the threats from greece and turkey, the truman doctrine, the revelations of the big spy reading in canada, the rosenbergs, there is more and more awareness about the threat of the soviet so you have really got -- you -- you -- there is a
containing the soviet union. it is on the methodology. there is also, there are signs of dissolution of the soviet union. it kind of reduces some of the impetus. arguably, you know, the containment grand strategy is a bipartisan policy arguably from about the late 1940's until the walls go down. a consistent bipartisan approach to foreign policy which is pretty amazing considering the state we find each other in today. that would be my take on it. alex: a slightly, slightly different point but interesting to see the popular responses in europe over those decades and perceptions of the soviet union. in large parts of europe in the 1980's a reassessment of the cold war, the americans were put into the light of being much more the aggressors that if
stalin hadn't been so bad, you know, there is a lot of talk about disarmament and how the united states handled it. so that very sort of the important reaction against reagan as well when he was trying to kind of ring in some of the policies to the soviet union so it was not just a question of the united states but the way the war was perceived in europe was very different and in fact you know there was a lot of opposition to americans policy and europe in those 1970's, 1980's times. conrad: there is a backlash after vietnam and a lot of it is a generational split. someone said, the problem is the atomic bomb and for the world war ii generation, the atomic bomb ends world war ii. the upcoming young generation, the atomic bomb started the cold war. so part of it is perspective as the world war ii generation fades the commitment to the cold war lessons as well. so i can understand the motivation for the less thing and the united states was for
this commitment to some of the cold war policies. question: given stalin's desire to have the baltic states in part of his time, why do you suppose he did not extend that to finland because they fought a war with finland and finland was able to turn the baltic war into the soviet like before. how is it they stayed that time
and did not include finland? alex: there is one answer, the war. the finns were an incredible. it was a little-known conflict but the finns inflicted heavy, heavy damage. one of the reasons that lurk thought it would be easy -- one of the reasons that adolf hitler thought it would be easy was because -- this kind of, if you will, this sent a very strong signal to stalin that finland was different. the baltic states were very weak. small, easy to take. stalin made all sorts of historical reasons as to why the baltic states had to be soviet. which were spurious, not true. he could not get away with that argument. like a little finland. -- plucky little finland, it is a little-known fact about that during the war.
question: this was the first time i have heard the suggestion that our involvement in the far east, particularly in vietnam, arose out of the effort to maintain france. in so, would you say a little more about that? it is fascinating. conrad: no, again, the french were very reluctant to rearm germany and so we had to offer them all kinds of incentives. of course, de gaulle an
interesting relationship, you know? the french said, we're kind of with you but we are not. they withdraw the military commissions for nato. they are in and out. it is a rough relationship. in order to get them to sign up for germany we have to commit to more support for them. we sent massive logistics to indochina. a lot of support. another great story if we had more time to talk about how we narrowly avoid going in in 1954. we sent a delegation in washington and the chairman of joint chiefs is ready to send the air force and there is a number of reasons that gets stopped. a lot of logistics are coming from us and again, it is a sense of worldwide communism. when the north koreans attacked
across the 38th parallel in june 1950, when president truman hoses meeting, the first thing they talk about is how do we take out all of the soviet airbases in the far east? where did they send their first reinforcements gretchen meyer to europe. they see this is a diversion question: if fdr was very big when he defended the conference, his blood pressure was 280 over 160 which is twice the normal. he was having a small stroke. congestive heart failure. and my question is this. was see even in a condition to understand what was taking place?
alex: yes. he was very ill but he did not have any dementia or serious memory loss or failure. he was very ill, very tired. it is difficult to know what effect that condition would have on the decisions made. i don't know if any decision he made in mialta would be very different. i don't know if outcome would be any different. conrad: everybody understood fdr, he had very confident staff advisors. i agree with alexandra, that was not really the political strategic conversation favoring stalin. as alan brooks said, he was a master strategist and that showed at the last couple conferences. question: along with that issue,
i had read that one of the reasons fdr had to capitulate stalin's request, a loose term there, was because we still had not tested the atomic weapon and we might need them to help defeat japan. could you speak to that? conrad: fdr once the soviet union to be in the u.n., not wanting to scare them away. fdr has the idea that the five policemen are going to police the world, keep order. he knows the soviet union has to be part of that order so he is
willing to sacrifice poland in order to get the soviet union and the u.n. and that is one of the reason why churchill's iron curtain speech is so decried because he seems to be going against the u.n. which is a major effort. if there was a bomb, even if we had one in new mexico work that does not mean we will have another work. the bomb is much overplayed. we do not know what is going to bring the japanese to surrender. you need all of those different blows. at the same time we are testing the bomb we still want to get the soviet union in the war against japan. this business about this hammer used against the soviet union,
fdr especially still expects the soviet union to be our ally in the future. stalin tries to get 19 seats in the u.n.. he was a seat for every soviet republic. eventually he gets three of them. that is part of the compromise. but fdr has long-term goals for this globalized world that we talked about yesterday. alexandra: if we're talking about yeltsin, and the fdr agreement for the fight against japan and the bomb really becomes an issue at pottsdam, but not quite yet at me all to malta. >> we will extend the session by 45 minutes a week and have an -- have a full explanation.
>> thanks a lot. i would go to someone else in the audience. truman was a respected senator, but again, he was not part of the inner circle. he was brought in for certain political advantages and he had a lot of friction with fdr staff because he was not part of that inner circle. basically, i am not as overly expert on the machinations of the democratic in 1944 but i know there are political considerations in the ticket in fdr. question: given that vladimir putin can be viewed almost as
"stalin light", and the pride and the kind of the soviet union, my question is how a stalin viewed by soviet citizens and presidents today? alex: at another 45 minute extension please. conrad: that will be covered in this afternoon's session, how it is remembered. if you do not mind, please ask that if it's not addressed . i would like to get to another final question so we can spread it around. question: first and foremost, i think the decision was not made by fdr, remember henry wallace was the vice president and a lot of southerners did not like his position and were fearful of his pro-soviet viewpoint. from what i read, fdr basically
told the convention, jews are you want, i am not going to get involved. it had to do with domestic politics. -- choose whoever you want. i am not going to get involved. it had to do a domestic politics. my question is, when did stalin become trotsky? in 1940, when stalin basically put an ice pick in the back of trotsky's head, how much of stalin's so-called global vision was overblown perhaps? i mean, even chairman mao in the chinese found him a little too much about russia and less about the world? alex: he believed in these great
forces that and inevitably this would happen. there is a very interesting moment in the 1920 war when lenin tried to bring the bolshevik revolution to germany by going to poland and bringing the revolution and the red army was stopped at the gates of war saw in the so car -- so-called miracle. after this defeat, lenin goes back and says they are going to consolidate bolshevism in one country. stalin was deeply humiliated. he was ordered by letting them to kind of mount an attack which he did not do in the right time or place and lenin dressed him down enormously for this though -- for this failure, and stalin
never forgot this. how much to this defeat in poland and the dressing down by lenin affect that part of the world? so when lenin decides we're going to go back and deal with the soviet union, that point stalin did whatever lenin told him to do but there is no doubt that stalin still believed in and harbored and wanted worldwide revolution but he was pragmatic enough, he was a tactician, he was very clever and smart enough to realize if things were not going his way to was not going to, you know, deliberately started to world war ii try and push it. he thought and inevitably the course of the world would be such that capitalism would crumble and communism would win. as i said before, did not necessarily have to be in his lifetime. >> thank you all very much. [applause] >> interested in american history to become a visit c-span.org/hi